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Asthmatic Children Missing Out

May 6, 2009

A study carried out in Cardiff has found that teachers’ pre-conceptions about asthma are causing children with the condition to miss out.

The charity Asthma UK Cymru, which carried out the study, said half of the children surveyed said their asthma meant they had problems joining in lessons and going on school trips.

According to the UK-wide Missing Out report, almost 75% of the children questioned said they had problems joining in with physical education lessons and 40% said their asthma stopped them having fun.

Jessica Hayes, 15, from Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, said teachers would not know what to do if she had an attack at her school.

They don’t seem to understand the condition,” she said.

“They’ve even told me not to take part in the school sport teams before because I am off a lot and they don’t want somebody who will miss matches and training sessions in the team.”

Asthma UK Cymru  want all schools to ensure they have an asthma policy in place and that all school staff are familiar with it and their responsibilities for implementing it.

Teachers and others who care for children should get better training and support for dealing with asthma, said the charity, and every school should have access to a school nurse.

The charity’s national director, John Mathias, said he wanted teachers to be given clear guidelines about how to deal with asthma attacks at school.

I know as well as anyone what a serious problem asthma can be. However, I never expected to hear anything like this. I’ve always thought that attitudes like these were reserved for obvious physical disabilities. If there is such prejudice and discrimination developing, or existing, in schools against a problem as recognised as asthma, then the world needs even more help than I thought.

I’d love to hear the reactions of anyone affected by asthma to this study. Do the findings reflect your or your child’s teachers’ attitudes? Comments are very welcome below, as usual.

This post is part of the Inclusion Rules! debate at Same Difference.

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